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BASEBALL AT MID-SEASON: S.I. CHECKS IN WITH A PULSE READING
Published July 6, 1995
With its cover story on baseball, the July 10 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED examines the dilemma facing some erstwhile baseball fans: How to reconcile anger at the sport with the fact that the season is turning out to be "fantastic." Tom Verducci writes, "Like an ocean tide, baseball churns on relentlessly, its pull on you greater beneath the surface than above. That hasn't changed. Baseball's quietest season offers its own pleasures. You don't know what you're missing. Or do you?" (SI, 7/10). In L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "Declining attendance continues to affect nearly every franchise, but time seems to have eased some of the hurt. Approaching the symbolic midpoint of a delayed season, the damage has become tougher to measure." Newhan reports that a new marketing department will be opened in MLB's New York office with successful local promotions tried "on the national stage" (L.A. TIMES, 7/6). OFF-THE-FIELD: In a separate piece, SI's Verducci writes that, after months of silence, labor negotiations between owners and players "are about to get more difficult." Braves President Stan Kasten: "A lot of teams are digging in more and more as this goes on. The economics have changed too much since March." Verducci reports that one group of owners, led by the White Sox's Jerry Reinsdorf, is actually pushing for a return to the salary cap, while Red Sox CEO John Harrington can only hope to have a deal "maybe by Thanksgiving or into December." Giants Owner Peter Magowan: "It's scary. On the other hand, the players ought to be able to see it: The revenue isn't there anymore." According to Verducci, the owners have split into three groups: hard-liners, moderates and doves. Some of the doves -- "ready to sign just about anything" -- want Bud Selig and his "small-market agenda" out of the way. Harrington puts that faction at "two or three. They'll never have a majority" (SI, 7/10 issue). ALL-STAR UPDATE: In Ft. Worth, Kathryn Hopper reports that demand for tickets "isn't as hot as in years past," but local ticket brokers believe that could change. Hideo Nomo could be a draw, particularly among West Coast fans and Japanese businessmen. But Barry Lefcowitz, head of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, calls the game "a flop." MLB spokesperson Rich Levin: "It's a sellout. ... As far as we're concerned, it's a success" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/6). A N.Y. POST header picked up on Lefcowitz's comment: "ALL-STAR GAME'S 'A FLOP'" (N.Y. POST, 7/6).